The time leading up to your first prenatal visit is usually marked with excitement. Many women feel their anticipation building, as this first appointment is usually their chance to see the first glimpse of their baby with an ultrasound. But your first prenatal appointment is also an important opportunity to voice any questions or concerns, and learn more about what you should expect during the course your pregnancy. Thankfully there’s no need to feel overwhelmed, because we’ve composed a short list of important questions you should ask your ob-gyn:
1. How Much Weight Should I Gain?
It’s a great idea to ask your obstetrician about weight gain during your first prenatal visit, because this will help you to have having healthy and realistic expectations about weight gain during your pregnancy. How much weight you should gain is determined by you body mass index (BMI) and also the number of babies you’ll be carrying (a mother to be carrying twins or multiples will have different weight gain targets). Your BMI is determined by your weight and height, and your physician will give you a weight range to gain by trimester according to these numbers. Here is a glimpse of the standard weight gain ranges broken down by BMI:
- <18.5: 28 to 40 pounds
- 18.5 to 24.9: 25 to 35 pounds
- 25.0 to 29.9: 15 to 25 pounds
- ≥30: 11 to 20 pounds
2. Who Will Deliver Me?
It’s a great idea to meet with doctors early on in your pregnancy to get insight into their birth philosophy. At your first prenatal visit, it’s a great idea to ask which hospitals they deliver at, and get information about any special options they have for your birth, as well as how many providers are in their group. Some practices have a group of physicians that are on-call, and who ends up delivering your baby depends on who is available at the time. By contrast, at other practices you’ll always be with your own doctor on delivery day. By familiarizing yourself with your medical team and their protocol, you’ll be better able to decide whether or not the group will be a good fit for your delivery.
3. What OTC Medications Are Safe During Pregnancy?
It’s extremely important that you ask your physician about which over the counter (OTC) medications to avoid while pregnant, as some common medications can actually be harmful to your growing baby. We recommend that you consult your obstetrician before taking any medication or dietary supplement, however, it’s common for women to need OTC medication at some point during their pregnancy (perhaps for a headache or digestion discomfort, for example). For this reason, it’s a great idea to get a list of medications that you can use. The following OTC medications are generally deemed as safe for pregnant women:
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol) — for headaches, pain, or fever
- Vitamin B6, Dramamine (25 mg tablets, 3 times per day), or Emetrol (if not diabetic) — for nausea or vomiting
- Tylenol or Tylenol Cold — for cold and allergy symptoms
- Fiber supplements — for constipation
- Saline nasal spray — for allergies
4. Should I Be Experiencing Cramping or Bleeding?
During the early stages of pregnancy, it’s completely normal to experience some cramping or light bleeding. Persistent or heavy bleeding, however, can be indicative of a problem. You’ll want to ask your doctor more about what is considered “normal”, and what should be considered more serious so that you will know what to look out for in the early stages of your pregnancy.
5. Is Exercise Okay During My Pregnancy?
Today, most research suggests that mild exercise during pregnancy is great for maintaining a healthy weight, and can even help prepare your body for delivery and labor. If you presently exercise, your doctor will likely recommend you continue your current regimen. It’s important, however, to fully discuss your exercise regimen with your physician, as they will recommend any needed adjustments to ensure the safety of your baby (this is especially important for women who enjoy more rigorous exercise or athletic activities).
6. What Should I Expect During Labor and Delivery?
It’s important to ask your doctor what you should expect during your labor and delivery. Whether you will choose to deliver at a hospital, home, or birthing center, you’ll need to begin familiarizing yourself with logistics or any existing protocol, as well as available pain management options (such as the availability of an epidural, for example). This is also a great time to discuss the likelihood that you’ll need a C-section, as well as options for vaginal birth after delivery (VBAC).
North Florida Ob-Gyn of Jacksonville Beach
By asking the above list of questions, you can make sure that your first prenatal appointment is not only pleasant and memorable, but also informative. At North Florida Ob-Gyn of Jacksonville Beach, we are a family oriented practice that seeks to give individualized attention to every patient. As mothers themselves, our all female delivery team of board-certified ob-gyn specialists offers complete obstetrical care for both mom and baby. If you are interested in scheduling your first prenatal appointment with us, contact us today!